Rollin' The Ice
The 2014 ice season is well under way now and I've been slow to get a report and pictures up. Better late than never, eh!
It's been a cold and snowy winter here in NW Ontario so far. Conditions on the lake are great though, with a solid base of ice and plenty of snow on top for the snow machines. The slush is minimal, too, which is a major bonus.
Fishing has been pretty good so far with a steady pick of walleye and pike. Haven't had the chance to chase lakers and whitefish yet, but that should change soon.
Every year I catch big active walleye on Lindy Darters. This Lac Seul 'eye is a perfect example.
Last winter I did an article for Ontario OUT OF DOORS about catching big pike with gear and tactics normally used for walleye fishing. It never fails that some of the years biggest pike come while jigging for winter walleye in 30-feet of water. This big girl was a treat to pull through the hole the other day.
My buddy Joe traveled up from southern Ontario for a visit earlier in January. Of course we went fishing…. here's Joe with a nice walleye.
Back in December I had the chance to fish with longtime guide buddy Brandon Ouelette on the legendary Bay of Quinte in SE Ontario. Brandon operates Quinte Hard Water Specialists guide service, based in Belleville Ontario. Quinte is well regarded as the premiere destination for monster walleye. Every time you drop your jig down you've got a realistic shot at a 10 + pounder. These guys don't even bat an eyelash at 5-pounders.
True to form, Quinte produced a monster for Brandon's good buddy Justin. This is - by far - the biggest walleye I've ever laid eyes on. Anywhere. Ever.
14- pounds, 4-oz and 32-inches
If you're anywhere near southern Ontario this winter give Brandon a call and book a trip to chase one of these giants for yourself.
'Tis The Season
'Tis the season for ice fishing!! With hunting season behind us, that means it's time for hardcore ice fishing action until spring. Winter is one of the seasons I look forward to the most. Big walleye, lake trout, pike and more are going to be hitting the ice this winter.
I got my snowmachine running in time for some early ice action. The maiden voyage was a trip to Lac Seul on a solid 8-10 inches of ice. It wasn't long before walleye started biting.
This nice walleye couldn't resist a Lindy Darter in 31 feet of water.
The Darter is one of my go-to baits for all species through the ice
My good buddy Colin was sitting a little deeper and landed a handful of walleye between 18- to- 23 inches, including this chunky fish.
It's shaping up to be another great year on the ice here in Northwestern Ontario.
In case you missed it, check out my new ice fishing video. This action packed highlight reel was put together with footage from last winter on the ice.
Some people can't wait for winter to be over.... I say bring on the snow and ice!
Conditions continue to be great for late season ice fishing in Sioux Lookout and the bite has been hot. It's a certainty that we'll finish out the walleye season (April 15th) on the ice. Quite a contrast to 2010 when we were already finished on the big lakes by now.
A pattern we found this week was great action for walleye in deeper water(24-32'). It wasn't difficult to collect limits of under 18" fish. One morning I put on a clinic fishing a Lindy Darter. Hands down it out-fished live bait that day. When walleye want the darter they don't just hit it... they crush it!
The walleye season in Rice River closes on March 31st to protect spawning fish. We snuck in there on the last evening for a few hours and weren't disappointed. The best part was the average size of the walleye, with most fish in the 3-6lb range.
Jeff Schellenberg with a Rice River beauty.
I spent a few hours one afternoon doing some running-and-gunning for trout. The strategy paid off on the 3rd spot when I pretty much landed on top of this guy. Great tussle with a Minnitaki blackie!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.